Note: The site in question is down and probably for good.
Sometime last week, two guys launched a “dating” site with 250,000 users. Which would be a huge launch except for the fact that the users joined the site without actually knowing about it. How did they do this and why did they do this? Their reasoning is explained in detail on their site.
The process, called “scraping”, took the pictures from the profiles of one million Facebook users, compiled and matched them to other users using special software and then posted the 250,000 matches to their dating site. The authors of the site, Paolo Cirio and Alessandro Ludovico, wanted to demonstrate just how easy it is for people/companies to troll through Facebook, collecting “public data” so they can do whatever it is they are going to do with the data. This demonstrated not only how unsecure Facebook is, but also how many people do not take advantage of the privacy features rolled out by Facebook. To the right, this is what my privacy settings summary page looks like.
Just remember that common sense plays a huge factor in what you do on Facebook. If you don’t want any of your personal data shared (telephone number, address etc.), either don’t post it at all or make sure that your settings are as secure as Facebook can make them. There’s a really cool site that lets you search for status/post updates of anyone who has that information available for public viewing. You can go to openbook.org to check to see if you can find any posts made by you.
Facebook can only do so much so, it’s up to us users to use a little bit of that common sense I just mentioned. Be vigilant!
Facebook has begun rolling out it’s latest UI update on Friday. From the pictures on it’s blog, maybe the changes will make using the site a whole lot easier. Yeah, there will be plenty of people who will complain and it’s understandable. The amount of UI changes Facebook makes is a little disconcerting. However, it’s their site and we get to use it for free. I suggest that we just buckle up and enjoy the ride. 🙂
The changes probably explain why I cannot get Facebook Connect to work correctly on a site that I am developing [or maybe it’s just me].
(Updated: January 29th, 2010)
Facebook has posted an update in their security blog about the “Unnamed app” bug, which has been fixed. In fact, while I didn’t delete it from my Application Settings list, “Unnamed app” has been removed from the list. I have noticed that the site is working better for me. They also mention that people have been using this “scare” to try to get people to download malicious software.
Well it has been for me. Apparently I am not alone. One of my friends in Facebook, posted about something called “Unnamed app” in the Application Settings Profile. You can check to see if it is listed in your settings by going to Settings > Application Settings and select “Added to Profile” from the “Show” drop down box on the top right side of the page. In my account, “Unnamed app” was the first application listed.
I found information about the problem and the solution on Google by searching for “Facebook unnamed app”. According to this blog posting, this “Unnamed app” is NOT spyware or anything malicious. You may delete this application from the list. Other pages within the Google SERP testify that deleting this application does in fact increase Facebook performance.
According to this blog posting, this “Unnamed app” is the “Boxes Tab” and Facebook will be removing it from there system. This does explain why Facebook has been slow for me and the AJAX isn’t quite working correctly. My guess is that there’s junk code floating around the system clogging things up.
The bloggers I linked to didn’t know if Facebook was going to turn this “Unnamed app” into another program so you should delete this at your own risk!
Thanks to Ryan Schmidt for the tip!